CHANDLER, Ariz. — Here are some more juicy quotes from Dick Williams, the former Padre manager who is now with Seattle:
On whether he still has good friends within the Padre organization: "No. Well, I do, but I don't go out to dinner with them or anything. Who are they? Let's just say a few people with the Padres. I wouldn't want to name anybody. I wouldn't want to get them in trouble."
On the Padres being for sale: "I'm not surprised. I think they probably would have moved it earlier had we not won (in 1984)."
On Steve Garvey's inflammatory remarks about Williams last year: "No comment."
On the Padre trade with the Mets, which involved Kevin McReynolds (who did not get along with Williams): "I don't have any comment on that at all. But as far as pressure (on McReynolds) goes, there's no place with more pressure than New York City."
On new Padre Manager Larry Bowa: "I think he'll do very well. I think he'll be excellent--if they let him do what he has to do. . . . He was a good, hard-nosed player, and he'll be a good, hard-nosed manager. He won't be easy to play for. He'll expect you to do things properly, but he'll be fair."
On possibly acquiring Padre first baseman Carmelo Martinez: "I'm glad he got his weight down. He was heavy this winter. We talked about him at the winter meetings, and I told our people I was definitely interested. But one of our guys came back from Puerto Rico, and he said Carmelo was as big as a house. He might be here now if he hadn't been so heavy."
On his reputation as a tough guy with the media: "That's a bunch of baloney--my reputation. You get some people that come up to you at the wrong time, and you might be curt with them. And I get curt at times. But one guy will say, 'He's a no-good SOB,' and it sticks."
On his days in San Diego: "I hope some of my players (learned) how to play the game. Because we helped turn them into winners. Who's we? Ozzie (Virgil), Bobby Tolan, Norm Sherry, Galen (Cisco)--all the (coaches) I agreed to having over there. And some (coaches) were crammed down my neck. I had Sherry (a pitching coach) with me, and they fired Sherry. The guys that caused Sherry to get fired were Ballard (Smith, the team president) and Jack (McKeon, the general manager) and (catcher Terry) Kennedy and (pitcher Andy) Hawkins. I told him (Sherry) it was going to happen just after our post-World Series party in '84. I didn't like it, and I had no control over it. I probably should have spoke out more. That's the only thing I regret."
On free agent Tim Raines, who played for Williams in Montreal: "I hope he gets hooked up with somebody because it looks like he was misled (by his agent). Montreal offered him $4.8 million. How much do you want? He says he won't take a pay cut (from the Padres), but he wasn't going to get a pay cut from Montreal. Another club isn't obligated to give him the same money (as Montreal offered)."
After he hit a towering grand slam Tuesday, first-year catcher Benito Santiago made this grand prediction:
"I will be tough this year. I'll surprise a lot of people. I'll try to get rookie of the year (honors), and if not, I hope to do well anyway."
McKeon warns not to jump the gun on Santiago, not to expect miracles. But then you see the gun that Santiago has for an arm and the shots he keeps sending over the fence. Santiago, the Padres' new No. 1 catcher, has hit two home runs in five spring-training games (he had five RBIs alone in Tuesday's 10-8 Padre victory over Milwaukee).
The grand slam came in the first inning off Milwaukee starter Juan Nieves. Later, Santiago singled sharply to left, driving in outfielder John Kruk.
"I had seen him (Nieves) in Puerto Rico," Santiago said. "I know he likes to come in with his fastball, and--with the bases loaded--I was looking for the fastball. If it'd been a breaking ball, I would have let it go. But, you know, with the bases loaded, a pitcher likes to come in with a strike. And it was right down the middle."
The RBI single came with a 3-and-0 count. Bowa, who has increasing confidence in Santiago, let him swing away.
And that's an important part of Santiago's progress. The coaching staff has cuddled him, made him feel great. Every time he does anything positive, there comes a shout: "Way to go, Benny!"
"I'm really feeling good," Santiago said Tuesday. "Nobody's bothering me. I'm happy. I've got my mind clear. Everyone (on the team) talks to me, and I talk to them. I like this group. I have no problems here."
Against Milwaukee, the Padres jumped to a 5-0 first-inning lead. Besides Santiago's grand slam, right fielder Tony Gwynn had an RBI single.
But starting pitcher Andy Hawkins gave up five runs himself in his three innings of work (four were earned). Kruk--who had 3 hits, 2 doubles and scored 4 runs--had an RBI double in the seventh, which was followed by outfielder/first baseman Carmelo Martinez's first homer of the spring. That made it 9-7 (reliever Greg Booker gave up two runs).